Awareness and Being
Awareness Training allows us to learn how to BE, which is very unlike our normal state of DOING. Constantly DOING is often used to avoid difficult thoughts and feelings. We often DO because we feel inadequate, disconnected and alone, or anxious that we might miss out on something (technology, opportunity, experience, etc.). In short, we often DO because we fear BEING.
All this DOING results in our typical state of mind, which includes:
- Goal seeking
- Threat avoidance
- Distraction seeking
And this normal state can result in even more anxiety and fear, which leads many to DO even more, furthering our state of discontent and discomfort.
But Awareness Training allows our minds to find other options:
Using Awareness Training techniques to calm and focus the mind we can learn to help become comfortable with BEING, which can reduce stress and anxiety and unleash creative and deeper connections.
Spending 10 - 20 minutes a day practicing Awareness will lead to surprising results, but like anything, there are a few barriers to overcome.
Barriers to affective Awareness Training include:
- Restless mind
- Self critical thought
- Unwanted feelings
- Physical discomfort
We will learn how to deal with each of these issues in subsequent blogs, but for now while you are practicing and one of these barriers presents itself, attend to the sensation or thought with openness and kindness, and observe it in detail. For example, if you are meditating and an itch presents itself, focus your attention on the sensation. Observe the itch. Your body is amazing that an itch is even possible. You will be surprised to find that the sensation or thought soon fades. A thought that causes you anxiety presents itself, observe the thought without judgment. It is a part of you. It is you BEING. Rejoice in your BEING.
This Weeks Practice: With closed eyes, sit for 5 to 10 minutes listening to the sounds around you. At first you might hear only silence, but wait and focus on opening your senses to the world around you. Perhaps you might hear traffic, or a child playing in the distance. A bird singing. The hum of your computer. Eventually bring your focus to the sound of your own body. Your breath.
The sound in your own ears. This practice can be used even in short bursts (1 minute) to help you become more alert, awake and serene.
Wishing you well being and awareness.
(Tim Carl, PhD, is a long-term advocate and practitioner of meditation and mindfulness practice. He has studied science at Harvard, has been a business consultant at McKinsey & Co., and co-founded Knights Bridge Winery. Presently he lives and writes in Calistoga with his wife, dog and cat. His two children have left the house and are pursuing their own paths. He can be followed @tim_carl on Twitter or emailed directly at firstname.lastname@example.org)